Story of Hope: From Broken-hearted Girl to Compassionate Leader

It’s autumn in the Little Karoo and in a town called Oudtshoorn, a Xhosa girl, Nozuko Nkila, is born. It’s 1993, times are tough in South Africa, and her mother had to leave to find work in the Eastern Cape. Her father – still unknown.

Nozuko’s grandparents lovingly took her into their home. They were pastors of the local community church and ran a small crèche, where she was involved from a very young age. This kindled her caring heart, and planted the seeds of what was to come.

“I hated my life and had nothing to live for”
Nozuko’s world fell apart when her grandmother tragically died from a heart attack right in front of her when she was twelve years old. Her grandfather struggled to cope with the loss. He withdrew into himself completely. He was then diagnosed with a heart condition. Nozuko had to quit school to take care of him.

She felt helpless and had to somehow find space to be herself again. That is when she discovered cooking. Oh, and how she loved cooking!

Three years later she and her grandfather moved to Malmesbury to stay with her biological mother. She began school again but dropped out soon after finishing grade nine. It was during this time her grandfather passed away. Nozuko was deeply unhappy.  It was a dark and sad time in her life. She recalls, “I hated my life and had nothing to live for”

Despite this, she enrolled to study Education and Development at a college, and found a job at a disability centre in Blackheath. Things appeared to be improving in her life but she still felt that something inside of her was missing. She turned to drinking and partying in an attempt to feel better and fill her emptiness.

The turning point 
She quit her job, to start a disability centre in Paarl but it struggled to gain support within the community. During this time she
met Nielen and Anneke from Mosaic and PopUp (now Elevation) – two organisations doing remarkable work in the community. She became close friends with them. Through their determined and intentional mentorship and fellowship she have her life to Jesus. For the first time in her life she felt she had a purpose. Although things were not immediately easy and the journey was hard but she knew God was with her, and He had special plans for her.

She became a Life Skills facilitator and later on joined Mosaic as Relationship Manager. She is now the Site Manager for Mosaic but feels her true purpose was revealed to her in 2015.
Born to be a mother
During a visit to De Aar in 2015, her life changed forever. She met a beautiful four year old girl with big brown eyes. Sadly her father could not take care of her anymore.

At the age of 22, Nozuko adopted *Nande and became a mother for the first time. She felt like something inside had come alive.

But it would not  be the last time.  The following year she crossed paths with a mother who  was addicted to alcohol and could not take care of her daughter.  Nozuko decided to adopt three year , Kelly*. .

Soon after Nozuko met a pregnant lady who was considered aborting her unborn boy. Nozuko convinced her go through with the pregnancy. On the day he was born, she took baby Odwa*, into her care.

No matter what the cost.
Nozuko continues to minister to, empower and support women and children in her community.  She recently started her own catering businesses called “It’s all about Food”, to cover some of her costs. She has two staff members. The three ladies cook together, pray for each other and share their dreams. Nozuko’s dream is to have a big house full of kids that she can cook  and care for and love.

“The budget never makes sense”, she says “but I always make it. Whether it’s school fees, nappies, or clothes. Angels come along to help us every step of the way,”

“How will you afford it?”,
“But you are an unmarried person?”,
“Aren’t you too young to do this?”.

These are some of the questions she hears every day.
Her answer?
“If God calls you to do something, He will make a way. No matter what the cost, no matter what the obstacles.”
If you would like to help Mosaic and Nozuku, please get in touch with the Valcare team: admin@valcare.org.za.

* Pseudonymns used for the children’s names.

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